Illicit outflows: Investigate Malaysia’s heavy losses

The high outflow will bankrupt the country, impoverish the general population and lead to social and political instability and chaos.

By Lim Teck Ghee

I refer to a report by Washington financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity which found that Malaysia lost US$291 billion or RM889 billion through illicit outflows between 2000-2008.

The report written by GFI economists Karly Curcio and Dev Kar, who is a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund is deserving of attention from everyone in the country – the prime minister to the lowest of our citizenry.

This finding of massive illicit capital outflow for Malaysia is the strongest confirmation of sustained capital flight from the country during the past decade, even if one wants to dispute the definition of “illicit” used.

What is especially worrying is that the outflow has tripled in the short period of eight years from 2000-2008

There can be no dispute that a major part of this outflow is due to financial gains accumulated through corruption, kickbacks and other illegal means.

How much can be disputed and can only be determined by a thorough investigation such as through the establishment of a Royal Commission to determine the extent and the reasons for the outflow.

Without an independent panel or Commission looking into this and having access to banking and other financial data, there will be no end to finger pointing and needless speculation as to who are the parties implicated in these outflows.

No country can afford the outflow that Malaysia is experiencing.

It will bankrupt the country, impoverish the general population and lead to social and political instability and chaos.

Should the government choose to maintain silence on this issue or attempt to spin it in other ways, then it will be a monumental error which will come back to haunt it forever through accelerating the decline – and ultimate downfall – of the country.

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